Archive for March, 2010

Heirloom Cooked Flour Frosting

I think I finally figured it out!

I never figured out why Red Velvet cake tasted different. Of course, I expected a difference from my grandmother’s cake, but, still, something was off.

When I got my grandmother’s recipe, I figured it out. It called for cooking flour and milk, then mixing with butter and sugar. I had never seen anything like it.

It is called a “cooked flour” frosting. (Catchy title, huh. I am thinking of going with “Heirloom Frosting.) Yet, the few times I made it (including under the supervision of my grandmother), it never seemed to come out right. It always had a grainy texture to it. I tried superfine sugar, but that still did not make a difference.

I was reading a few places online, and one recommended beating the frosting for a longer period. With other types of meringue based frostings, it says to continue beating after the point it looked curdled, until it comes together.

The very first time I made the frosting, I did not let the milk and flour mixture cool enough, so it melted the butter when I added it. The second and third time, I creamed the butter and sugar for longer periods of time, and added the cooled milk/flour mixture, and it still came up grainy.

This time: I mixed one cup of milk with four tablespoons of flour, and cooked until thick. I let this cool for about an hour.

I mixed the sugar in a food processor for a bit. I added some of the 1/2 cup of shortening to the food processor, to try to get the sugar to adhere better. (I have no idea if this worked.) I mixed the remaining shortening, and 1/2 cup of butter with the sugar/shortening mixture. I creamed this for about 5 minutes. I added the cooked flour mixture in, and let it mix for another 5 minutes.

I stopped it a few times to taste. The longer I let it mix, the more smooth it became.

I frosted a few of the red velvet pumpkin cupcakes, and put the rest in the fridge.

Just a note: This flour, like meringue based buttercreams, tastes like butter when refrigerated. So, let the cupcakes or cake sit at room temperature, or let the frosting come to room temperature and re-beat it before frosting.

Also, the last two times I made this, I did not include any extract (mostly because I was out of vanilla.) You can put extract into it. My next experiment with this will be to play with flavorings :)

Heirloom Frosting
24 Services, or enough for a 3 layer 8 inch cake.

1 cup milk
4 tbsp flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter (or you can use all butter or all shortening)

Whisk together 1 cup of milk and 4 tbsp of flour. Cook over low heat until very thick. Let cool to cool room temperature.

(Optional: You can process the sugar for a short period in a food processor. This may or may not make a difference, and was not in any recipe I have seen.)

Cream together 1 cup of fat (either the shortening/butter mix, or all butter), and 1 cup of sugar. Make sure to fully cream these together, at least five minutes. Once the butter is light and fluffy, add the cooked flour mixture. Mix until it looks like whipped cream. You can add vanilla extract towards the end of the beating process.

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Red Velvet Pumpkin Cupcakes

Rather, red velvet cake mix made with pumpkin. I took half a cake mix, 7.5 oz of pumpkin (half of the can), one egg, and a little bit of oil. (I did not measure it.)

It came out cakey, like an actual cupcake. The first pumpkin muffin attempt was just a spice cake mix and canned pumpkin. That was good, and had a distinct pumpkin taste, which was good. The texture was more of a muffin. So, I wanted to try out adding typical “cake ingredients” to see if they would come out. And they did!

Tomorrow, I will attempt (again) my grandmothers cooked flour frosting. Look for that later!

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Banana Cupcakes with (Attempted) Strawberry Frosting

I had a few older bananas, and faced with the choice of banana bread or banana cupcakes, I chose the cupcakes. I used Banana Chiffon Cake recipe. Chiffon cakes are made with oil, with most of the leavening coming from egg whites.

My egg whites did not whip up. I probably did not check the pan or the whisk to make sure that they were absolutely residue free, so I will have to do that next time.

The cupcakes browned rather quickly, but they rose with a nice dome top. The bananas did something funky, as the inside seems to have tiny dark spots, almost like threads. I assume they came from the bananas.

The frosting? Well, strawberry frosting still eludes me. I learned that my frosting does need some fat in it. I started with cream cheese, strawberry puree, and strawberry jam. I mixed in 1.5 lbs of sugar, and it was still quite runny. I mixed in some shortening, and it firmed up. Will mix in shortening at the beginning next time.

I played with the frosting. I am deciding what type of decorations look and taste best on cupcakes. These were made with just a disposable piping bag with a large part of the tip cut off. Pretty! Will have pictures once I figure out a photo editing program :)

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Orange Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Orange Marmalade Frosting


I wanted to make a cupcake with a taste combination that is not normally seen. I think the taste combination was great! I think the cupcake was a bit dense, so I will play with it a bit. I topped these with candied orange peel, but those came out slightly crispy.

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Hershey’s Chocolate Cake Recipe.

2 1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup Cocoa (I used a mixture of Valhalla and Hershey’s)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk. (Next time, I may swap some out for orange juice, for more of an orange juice flavor)
3/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract (I am never buying McCormick extract again. Go for the good stuff.)
2 tsp Pure Orange Extract
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp orange juice (I put this in the boiling water, because my orange juice was in ice form.)

Whisk dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add everything else, except the boiling water, into the bowl. Mix for two minutes. Add boiling water, and mix until combined.

This made 18 regular size cupcakes, 24 mini cupcakes, and a 6 inch cake. Cook until done. (I am horrible, and did not time any of it, but I watched it until it was done.)

Chocolate Orange Marmalade Frosting.
Adapted from The Cupcake Project

1 cup butter, at room temperature.
6 oz Orange Marmalade (I weighed this, or I think it is about 2/3 cup).
3 cups of powdered sugar. (I think I used more than this, but I wanted a stiffer frosting.)
2 tbsp Orange Juice (or use 1/4th cup for thinner icing for frosting a cake).
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz melted unsweetened chocolate. (I used Nestle’s pre-melted packets.)

Beat butter until creamy, then beat in the orange marmalade. Add in half the powdered sugar and mix. Scrape down bowl. Add the orange juice, extracts, and chocolate. Beat until smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, scraping down the bowl once.

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Bacon Wrapped and Chicken Fried Shrimp


Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Take Bacon. Cut in half or thirds.
Wrap around shrimp.
Attach with toothpick.
Fried until done.

Chicken Fried Shrimp.

Make flour mixture (flour, garlic powder, pepper, pinch of salt.)
Make Egg dredge (one egg, lightly beaten, and some milk.)

Dip shrimp in flour mixture, then egg, then flour mixture, then drop in deep fryer. Fry for about 3-5 minutes until done. Eat.

Shrimp Two Ways

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Cupcake Business Class

On Wednesday, I attended a Cupcake Business class, sponsored by Cupcakes Take the Cake. I got to meet Rachel Kramer Bussel, and Nichelle Stephens (they cofounded the blog). Nichelle liked my Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Chocolate Orange Marmalade Buttercream! (Recipe to be posted in a few days).

Presenting at the class were Marlo Scott, owner of Sweet Revenge, and Michelle Dobrawsky. Michelle gave us some great information about the business side of things, including trademarks, and what you can and cannot protect legally.

Marlo talked quite a bit about her business, and the research that went into it. There was a long discussion about branding and image, which is something that I am considering how to do.

We went after the class to her cupcake, wine, and beer bar. I got cupcakes to go. Her “Pure” cupcake was divine! The dark chocolate was very dark, and the Sweet Revenge cupcake was a strong and sweet peanut butter dream. :)

The class talked about protecting recipes, and how to do it. Marlo said that she gave away the recipe for the Pure cupcakes, and it has only helped her business. (BTW, I also learned that I should probably be using quite a bit more extract in my recipes, both her recipe and the one from Erin McKenna of BabyCakesNYC used 2-3 tbsp of flavoring, vs the 1-2 tsp that most of my recipes call for. Will have to try this next time.

What I learned? I probably do not have the passion or time needed to run my own cupcake business. However, one of the main themes of my life is integrating the many things that I am interested in pursuing into one package. (My thesis had four main components.) I am now brewing an idea of how to mix my love of cupcakes and baking/cooking with my want to run a business (or non-profit), and also providing healthy food for my neighborhood. But, I think that will wait until I am done with school. (Don’t worry mom, the idea that I have will use my MSW degree.)

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Salad, with Deep Fried Croutons

What better way to work with cooling off hot oil than to fry bread in it? After all, the bread will be used as a topping for a nutritious salad.


So, yeah, having bread soak up oil, while tasty, makes a greasy crouton. I’m not sure if the croutons would have been better if they were more stale and/or toasty before hand, I will have to try that next time.

I am also slightly ashamed to admit that the bread here? It is store bought devoid of nutrition Wonderbread. But it says it has calcium! :)

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